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Mega bushfires still raging in hot weather after RFS plane ‘crashes’

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Homes are feared lost on the New South Wales south coast as two emergency blazes have been downgraded to Watch and Acts.

Homes are feared lost on the New South Wales south coast as two emergency blazes have been downgraded to Watch and Acts.

More than 70 different fires are currently still active across the state, with over 40 yet to be contained.

The Badja Forest Road firea, north of Bermagui, and the Clyde Mountain fire, west of Batemans Bay were burning at an Emergency alert level earlier but have since been downgraded.

The Creewah Road blaze raging in Glen Allen, south-west of Bega, was also earlier posted at an Emergency alert level but has since been downgraded to a Watch and Act.

The NSW Rural Fire Service says people in the Tilba and Mystery Bay area near the Badja Forest Road fire are urged to leave now.

For those in the New Line Road, Creewah Road and Glen Allen area it is too late to leave.

"Seek shelter as fire approaches. Protect yourself from heat of the fire," NSW RFS said in a tweet.

Homes are under immediate threat from the Clyde Mountain blaze.

Those in the Moruya, West Moruya, Mogendoura and Wamban areas are urged to seek shelter as fire arrives.

"Hot conditions will continue into tonight for many areas," NSW RFS said in a tweet.

"A slow-moving southerly change has reached the far south coast. It's likely to reach Moruya around 8pm and Sydney around 11pm. Difficult conditions continuing for the next few hours."

Earlier today, a large air tanker battling bushfires in NSW crashed, killing all three people on board.

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The aircraft took off from the RAAF base in Richmond about midday before crashing in the Snowy Monaro area, and was being operated by a company contracted to work for the RFS.

All three people on board were from the United States.

RFS Commissioner Shane FitzSimmons said they lost contact with the C-130 water tanker plane about 1.30pm, and it is believed to have crashed shortly after.

"Tragically, there appears to be no survivors," he said this afternoon.

"It's impacted heavily with the ground and initial reports are that there was a large fireball associated with the impact of the plane as it hit the ground."

"We've got a number of firefighters and a number of crew that are in the area and working to contain and work around the fire. It is still an active fire ground. It did take some time with the use of ground crews and a number of aerial surveillance platforms to try to locate the wreckage."

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the tragedy highlights the dangerous task of fighting the deadly bushfires gripping the nation.

"It demonstrates the dangerous work currently being undertaken and it also demonstrates the conditions that our firefighters are working under," Ms Berejiklian said this afternoon.

"There are in excess of 70 aircraft that have been used today alone and today is a stark and horrible reminder of the dangerous conditions that our volunteers, emergency services personnel across a number of undertake daily."

Hot weather and windy conditions

Temperatures have soared to 40C and beyond in parts of NSW today, and it was the hottest day Sydney has seen for two years.

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"The temperature in the city had already risen to 30 degrees by 8:30am and reached 40 degrees shortly before 1pm," Weatherzone said.

This was the city's first day over 40 degrees since January 2018, and it was hotter in the CBD than in Penrith, which is rare.

The heat is expected to last well into the night, with predictions it could still be 30C at midnight.

Meantime, multiple emergency level fires are burning across NSW and the ACT on the south coast and surrounding Canberra.

Roads have been closed around many of the fires, including in Box Hill, in north-west Sydney.

Another fire is burning at Big Jack Mountain Road in Rocky Hall, in the Bega Valley, inland from the town of Eden, which was badly hit earlier this month.

Mount Durrah, Rocky Hall and Stoves Road may come under threat, the RFS said.

The fire, burning near the suburbs of Beard, Oakes Estate and West Queanbeyan just over the Canberra border, has flared up again today after also escalating yesterday.

There is a dangerous smoke warning in place for the ACT, and Canberra's Airport has been shut down with all flights in and out grounded.

Passengers should check with their airline before heading to the airport, which remains open to help with firefighting operations, a spokeswoman said.

Source: 9News

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